Madison Sapp clarinet extraordinaire


photo by Mary Sapp

Madison Sapp attends Zoom Master Classes. COVID-19 interrupted the traditional festival so the ILMEA replaced it with Zoom Master Classes.

On November 21, Meridian junior Madison Sapp earned her spot on the IMEA (Illinois Music Education Association) Honor Band. Per tradition, a festival is held to congratulate and celebrate these students’ success. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IMEA had to adapt.

Instead of the typical band festival in-person, the IMEA hosted it online.

Sapp has auditioned for Honor Band since 7th grade and received it every year since. She even participated in the All-State band her sophomore year.

“I made it because of Mr. Hicks, he is a pretty cool dude,” Sapp said. “He’s been my band director since I was in 5th grade.”

With the help of Mr. Hicks and Milikin instructor Dr. Cook, Sapp has stayed on the honor band for six years.

“Well, Mr. Hicks has been around me longer but him and Dr. Cook have both convinced me that I’m not terrible and they kinda have a point with that sometimes,” Sapp said. “I mean I’m really hard on myself but they see that I have all this natural potential and like if I actually try, I can do something with it. They both have been very helpful.”

Tony Hicks, Meridian’s band instructor, has tried to instill a joyful and self-competitive attitude for all of his band classes. 

“She had a tenacity within her that wouldn’t let that top spot go. […] She still sits in that seat.  Our band students respect Madison.  She doesn’t rub it in their faces,” Hicks said. “She’s always quick to help or show her peers new tips she has learned from her private clarinet instructor at Millikin.”

Hicks is excited about all of Sapp’s accomplishments. 

“She’s going to be one of my favorite success stories to brag on, once I’m old and done with teaching,” Hicks said. “I guess the right word for it would be respect, we have that for each other.”